Watching The Watchmen

After seeing The Watchmen last Friday, I’m both less disappointed and more disappointed in it than I thought I would be.

Let me try to explain.

I knew that they were making some pretty major story changes in the movie adaptation, which made me pretty nervous. No Black Freighter? No alien invasion? But I was actually ok with the more  substantial changes that they made to the movie. They streamlined the story for movie-goers without going against its big themes.  So, yeah. Surprisingly fine.

What killed me were all the little things–the changes that didn’t seem to do anything but make the story clunkier or less powerful. Some I found most irksome:

  • Why the hell does Janey Slater barge into the television studio during Dr. Manhattan’s interview? And why is she all… sweet, and not bitter and shit?
  • Why are the people that Laurie and Dan save from the burning building all happy and grateful when it would have been just as easy to make them ungrateful and cranky like they’re supposed to be?
  • Why the infinite, infinitely awkward sex scene with Laurie and Dan after said rescue, and why set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujuh,” which is the only bad version of the song, despite the fact that he wrote the damn thing?
  • Why so many shots of pooling blood? It’s like the most unexciting way to film blood. Look at your “we are filming blood” options, here–splattering, spilling, gushing, spurting…   And you’re gonna go wild on the pooling? Really?
  • Why bring Hollis into the story if yer not going to kill him off proper-like on Halloween?
  • Why the ending that refuses to end, and Dan’s riduculous “NOOOOO” that reminds me of Tommy Wiseau’s hysterical “WHHHYYYYYY?” at the end of The Room.
  • Why do they give Dr. Manhattan’s last line–and arguably the most pinnacle piece of dialog in the novel– to Laurie, who also happens to be played by the worst actress since Andie MacDowell?

And so on…

(Sigh.)

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5 responses to “Watching The Watchmen

  1. Minor spoilers in this comment, for those that care…

    I haven’t seen the movie and I’m not gonna see it until it comes out on dvd. That said, I have read pretty much every review I can get my hands on, most of which are negative, which I expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was that almost every single review I read would give away the ending in some way. And if not giving away the ending (as in naming the bad guy & what he does & why & how it differs from what he did in the book, thereby spoiling both film and book versions), than giving away some pivotal plot point. And these are not reviews at random Watchmen blogs, but from sources such as The New York Times, and Time and other well-respected publications whose movie reviewers should be aware of the modern etiquette of The Spoiler Alert. Or is it just me? Don’t you read a movie review to see if you want to see a movie, not as a companion piece afterwards? If there are no rules about Spoiler Alerts should I forgo all reviews until after I see the movie? I mean, Jesus-Fucking-Christ, is it too much to ask that professional writers know what the hell they are doing? Or, in this case are they just assuming that the only people going to see this thing are nerdy fanboys who not only know what happens in the book but have been trolling the internet for months & years for details about the movie and therefore know everything that’s going to happen before they walk into the theater in the first place? Isn’t the whole point of getting rid of the squid,The Black Freighter, and the like to appeal to the non-fanboy regular audience off the street? And, if so, shouldn’t important points like who the bad guy is and what he does and why he does it kind of the what makes the whole thing interesting? It is a mystery, after all.

    I’m pissed off about all this and nothing was actually ‘spoiled’ for me because I’ve read the novel. When I see the movie I wasn’t going to be surprised anyway, except maybe by the changes they made between the book and the screen. If I hadn’t read the book and wanted to see the movie, but had read those reviews first, I imagine I’d been *really, really* pissed off.

    Jess, the fact that *anything* in this movie reminded you of Tommy Wiseau in ‘The Room’, is truly horrifying. That and the fact that they cut really cool stuff but kept the sex scene between Laurie & Dan and set it to ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. Especially since in the book there is no sex ‘scene’, rather it picks up after the sex is done.

    I am in no hurry to see this film. Yecch.

  2. Yeah, that’s pretty lame. I read a bunch of reviews after I saw it, but I didn’t notice so much because, well, I’d already seen it.

    The sex scene was really, really bad. Two full verses and choruses worth of bad. My mouth was gaping, and not cause it was so, like, sexy.

    That all said, it actually wasn’t a horrible movie. It was in many ways a (too?) faithful adaptation (though you’ve probably gotten that out of a few of those reviews you’ve read), and parts of it were great. Probably a 3 out of 5 star venture, which wouldn’t be so lame if not for the fact that the book is so fucking good.

    (sigh)

  3. Check out this Watchmen marquee. The Squid is all in your head:

    http://fullbodytransplant.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/bring-your-own-squid/

    Brilliant.

  4. That’s kinda rad. And it works a lot better than “BYO dead body rafts” would have.

  5. Watchmen is a visual and psychological cornucopia — definitely worth watching

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